inner stillness: when everything is all the same to you, and you live for the day, and you are not dreaming and waiting

john r. harrison

my other websites
The United Methodist Churches of Sheldon, Bronaugh, and Moundville

The Southwest District of the Missouri West Conference of The United Methodist Church

The Rotary Club of Nevada, Missouri

The Beloit, Kansas, High School Class of 1960

The Academy for Spiritual formation #17

books I've been reading
Communion, Community, Commonweal: Readings for Spiritual Leadership, by John S. Mogabgab

The Ascent of a Leader: How Ordinary Relationships Develop Extraordinary Character and Influence, by Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, and Ken McElrath

The Catholic Imagination, by Andrew Greeley

Spiritual Guides for the 21st Century: Faith Stories of the Protestant Reformers

Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ, by Dallas Willard

movies I'd like to see
American Splendor


Lost in Translation

The Station Agent

Winged Migration

sermons in process
Ruth 1:1-18--"Why Go with Me?"

Mark 12:38-44--"Abundance and Poverty"

1 Samuel 1:4-20--"The Desperation of Hannah"

John 18:33-37--"An Interrogation"

Malachi 3:1-4--"Messages and Messengers"

lectures on tape in my car
Introduction to Renaissance Literature

Dante's Life and Times

Dante's Literary Antecedents

Erasmus, In Praise of Folly

Introduction to Shakespeare


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Saturday, February 9

This morning I preached on the transfiguration. Biblically, it is an interesting event, but probably more for its symbolic meanings than for any historic significance. Indeed, if it never happened, I figure that doesn’t much matter. The details of the story are more important. So, what stands out in the story? Well, for one thing, Peter’s reaction to it all, which is his usual over-reaction: “if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” Interesting. In the midst of a supernatural event, Peter wants to create a convention. But maybe this is a human inclination. Martin Luther was upset with the church at Rome for a number of reasons. He posted those reasons, those arguments, on a church door to invite dialogue on these matters. More than dialogue ensued. By the time he and the church and all his followers were done, new institutions were being founded. John Wesley wanted to enhance the spiritual life of members of the Church of England. They ended up creating their own church. But in the case of Peter, God doesn’t give him time to set up his “dwellings.” In the next verse we read, “while he was still speaking...” and God broke into the event. So, do we ever experience “transfiguration” events? I have an uncle who is concerned that other folks have had God speak to them, but he has not. It is as if he thinks he is missing out on something. I tried to tell him that there are many ways God might speak to us without it sounding like a human voice. Events can speak to us. Thoughts and feelings can speak to us. I think God tries to get our attention in many different ways. Some of them work, and I imagine that lots of them don’t, mostly because of how we are or are not paying attention. So, Jesus transfiguration was a message from God, as were the words they heard: “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” When pastors experience call, I think that they are receiving a message from God. The call may be a revealing event; it may be thoughts flashing through one’s mind; or it may be God speaking through another person. And in all of this, one’s life is in fact transfigured. Suddenly, a person begins to see him or herself in a different way. Life takes on a different kind of meaning and purpose. The end of the text reveals that Jesus said to the three disciples, “Tell no one about the vision.” So it really WAS a vision, and we need not quibble over the material reality of the event. But it was also intended only for those disciples; otherwise Jesus would not have told me to keep silent about it. Maybe God believed that Peter and James and John needed, at that time, to have a special message impressed upon them.

posted by John Harrison at 10:18 PM

thinking links

Alan Colmes

America Held Hostile

American Civil Liberties Union

America's War On Terrorism is about oil

The Association of World Citizens

Barnes & Noble



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BuzzFlash Report

Common Cause

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A Common Reader



Democratic Underground


Doc Searls Weblog

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International A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism)

Journal of the Hyperlinked Organzation

Let's talk sense

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London Review of Books





The Nation

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Nothing Like the Truth

Political Strikes

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Young Democrats of America